Price Museum

Price Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah by Machado & Silvetti, 2000

The following building, and text, is by the Boston firm of Machado & Silvetti for the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The site for the museum is located at the southern end of the campus mall, creating a strong physical terminus to an important vista. In response to the language of the campus architecture (primarily built in the 1960s), the building comprises strong rectangular volumes that step up around a centrally located grand gallery. Five distinct volumes rest atop a concrete plinth, each distinguished by differing brick patterns to present the building as a procession not only in height but also in color from dark to light. Two window types punctuate these volumes: horizontal recessed windows and projected windows. Clad in zinc sheet metal and containing clear anodized aluminum window systems, the varying proportions of these windows as they relate to the building volumes present an abstract appearance.

The composition of the museum is further orchestrated by a stair that starts from the campus mall outside and leads the visitor through the museum entry, into the grand gallery, and finally to a grand stair that connects with the upper levels of gallery space. The stair terminates with a sculpture window oriented toward Mt. Olympus. The museum’s ground floor contains the grand gallery, temporary galleries, an art education center, a bookstore, a cafĂ©, and an auditorium. At the museum’s center, the fifty-five foot tall grand gallery serves as the most symbolic element of the building, surmounted by a semi-translucent clerestory and punctuated by a large projected window. The second floor contains galleries for the permanent collection, administrative offices, and a library.